NC Blue Cross CEO resigns following DWI arrest, interim CEO named
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has resigned at the company’s request, according to a Wednesday night statement from Blue Cross NC’s Board of Trustees.
The company says Dr. Patrick Hugh Conway accepted the request and has issued his resignation effective immediately.
“Despite Dr. Conway’s many successes during his tenure at BlueCross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement.,” the statement read.
The company says Chief Operating Officer Gerald Petkau will be the interim CEO of BlueCross NC, effective immediately.
The full statement provided by Blue Cross North Carolina’s Board of Trustees is below.
“Immediately following Dr. Conway’s accident, the BlueCross NC Board of Trustees began reviewing and monitoring the situation, with the help of outside counsel and other experts. As a part of its work, the specially convened committee of the Board reviewed public records and officer affidavits regarding the accident and arrest. However, new details have come to light, particularly notes from the arresting officers and contents from their investigative files of which the board was unaware. Based on this, the Board of Trustees gathered today to reexamine the situation and determine a course of action. The BlueCross NC Board of Trustees has asked Dr. Conway for his resignation. Dr. Conway accepted the request and has issued his resignation effective immediately. As a mission-driven organization, BlueCross NC is committed to doing business with honesty, integrity and fairness. The details that recently emerged related to Dr. Conway’s arrest depict behavior that falls short of our standards. Despite Dr. Conway’s many successes during his tenure at BlueCross NC, we feel that our constituents are best served by naming an interim CEO and beginning a formal search for a permanent replacement. As such, Chief Operating Officer Gerald Petkau will be the interim Chief Executive Officer of BlueCross NC, effective immediately. We are confident that the transition will be smooth, and that Gerald Petkau will continue to lead the fight to improve the quality of health services, lower costs, and deliver an overall exceptional experience for our members. We hope that this action begins to rebuild a trusting relationship with our regulators and customers.”
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey called on the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to resign earlier Wednesday.
Causey said Dr. Conway, the medical doctor who heads the insurance behemoth, should resign following an arrest this past June on charges that included driving while impaired and child abuse.
The arrest first surfaced last week. Initially, Conway’s arrest was passed off by the company’s leaders as routine.
But video obtained by WBTV shows Conway driving erratically before side-swiping a tractor trailer.
Conway’s criminal charges are still pending and he has not pleaded guilty to any crime. He is scheduled to appear in court on October 8.
Wednesday morning, Causey accused the BCBSNC board of covering up the seriousness of Conway’s arrest and said the incident should have been reported to regulators.
“I consider this a breech of trust and we cannot move forward with this CEO,” Cause said of Conway’s arrest and the company’s failure to report both the incident and Conway’s conduct as alleged by police.
Causey called on Conway to be removed as CEO immediately.
“I do not take this action lightly,” Causey said. “It pains me greatly.”
During his press conference, Causey noted the incident and the way in which it was handled by BCBSNC has garnered attention from other state insurance commissioners.
The company was in the process of merging with an Oregon-based insurance company at the time of Conway’s arrest.
That merger has been put on hold amid additional scrutiny from insurance commissioners in both Oregon and Washington, where Cambia also does business.
The insurance commissioner in Washington has also accused the companies of failing to report the incident to him, as required.
As Causey’s press conference ended, the future of who would lead the company that provides healthcare coverage for many North Carolinians was uncertain.
“This affects millions of people in North Carolina,” Causey noted.
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